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COVID 19 Tests: Know The Difference Between RT-PCR and Rapid Antigen Test

  • Apr 18
  • COVID-19 Resources

The outbreak and second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is challenging the entire world and is targeting countries across all continents. This super contagious infection claimed countless lives in the last year and the new mutants are baffling the scientific community and medical professionals alike.

These are tough times, and the damage is, unfortunately, being done at epic proportions. While we all understand that wearing a mask, frequent washing of hands, sanitization, and social distancing can help us in keeping this deadly infection at a bay, it is still tough to trace the primary and secondary contacts, in case of an infection.

Well, with the second wave of Coronavirus lurking large – testing is stepped up and being done at a faster pace than ever before.

Fortis Hospitals in Bengaluru – Bannerghatta, Cunningham Road, Rajaji Nagar, Nagarbhavi are well-equipped with labs and health care professionals for running tests and processing accurate results.

The patients are requested to submit proof of identity while going for the test.

 

How To Get Tested For Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is tested either by running an RT-PCR test or Rapid Antigen Test. Healthcare professionals dressed in Personal Protective Equipment suits along with gloves, masks, and shields will collect the samples from the patient either from the nose or throat with a swab.

 

Who Needs Testing?

 

 

Do get tested, if you have symptoms or encountered the following situations in the last week:

All individuals with symptoms like cold, cough, fever, fatigue, shortness of breath, headache, especially with a recent history of travel should get tested.

Symptomatic patients who got in touch with individuals already confirmed with coronavirus infection.

Patients suffering from Severe Acute Respiratory Infection.

Direct contacts of a confirmed case to get tested within 5 to 10 days, even asymptomatic.

If you are living in highly contained zones and hotspots.

All hospitalized patients to get treated for other illnesses.

 

What Is The Difference Between RT-PCR and Antigen Test?

RT-PCR Test:

 

 

As of now, Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test is the most recommended one for tracing the infection in individuals suffering from influenza-like symptoms. This particular lab test has a specificity rate – meaning it can identify individuals without disease of nearly 100 percent and a sensitivity rate – the ability to identify those with COVID-19 by 67 percent. However, if the sample is not collected properly by a professionally trained lab technician, the result can give a false negative.

RT-PCR test uses Real-Time Reverse Transcriptase (RT)-PCR Diagnostic Panels for detecting the presence of viral RNA and is quite accurate. The swab samples are analyzed for reagents to identify the presence of the virus. This test can detect the virus even before the emergence of symptoms and aid in isolation, preventing the further spread of infection.

If the test turns out positive, the patient is required to follow all COVID-19 protocols, including self-isolation, taking recommended medications, eating healthy, checking for vitals including oxygen saturation.

 

Rapid Antigen Test:

 

 

The rapid antigen test comes in handy only while detecting patients who are quite symptomatic. It is also done by collecting samples from the nose or throat with a swab. Though the results can be revealed within 30 minutes, this test is not considered accurate, as it may not read into vital proteins that are part of Coronavirus at the initial stages.

Even if your rapid antigen test turns negative, the doctors might recommend you wait for a couple of days, before confirming the presence of infection. If you happen to notice the symptoms of COVID-19, go for an RT-PCR test for better results.

Doctors opine that in certain cases, the rapid antigen test needs to be backed by RT-PCR to completely rule out the possibility of infection.

 

About Fortis

With 56 hospitals across the nation and over 10,000 beds, Fortis Healthcare Limited is a leading integrated healthcare delivery service provider in India. For over 26 years, Fortis Hospitals have been committed to the cause of getting people back to their lives faster and stronger.

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